Tuesday, June 30, 2015

About not using those gay stripes on Facebook


If you’ve been in the vicinity of Facebook over the past few days, you've probably noticed that many people have taken advantage of a little gadget that enables them to overlay their profile images with rainbow stripes, to commemorate the Supreme Court’s decision last week to allow same-sex marriage in all 50 states of the union. Many of my friends, real and virtual, used it.

My immediate reaction was to do the same thing — after all, I support equal marriage, I think the SCOTUS decision is a good thing and I love seeing right-wing Republicans thrashing around in spasms of impotent, moronic fury. But then, as is so often the case, I started overthinking the whole phenomenon. What would I be communicating by tinting my profile? The fact that I’m a decent, egalitarian, non-homophobic, generally liberal, 21st-century sort of person? I’d hope that people already sort of get that already. (There was also the more mundane fact that I was away from my computer when I first noticed the rainbowing, and it would have been a lot of hassle to implement it on my crappy old phone and by the time I got back home I would have felt as if I was playing catch-up.)

But it was interesting seeing some of the reactions to my friends’ assumption of the spectrum. There was an element (jocular, I’m guessing) of “ooh, I thought there was something you weren’t telling us”. That’s harmless in itself but I suppose it’s just the benign end of the assumption that if you support gay rights in any form, that means you’re One Of Them, which sounds barmy but was certainly prevalent 30 years ago. And then I started considering that if people are making assumptions about those who announce their support for the SCOTUS decision in this way, are they also making assumptions about those of us who remain rainbowless? And so I felt like this:


It’s that tipping point where not wearing something – a poppy, a red ribbon, a red nose —can be taken as a statement in and of itself, even if you don’t mean anything by it. Am I by default a homophobe, an ally of the buffoon Scalia and his dimwit Supreme Court rightists? Or did I mean to buy a rainbow from the nice lady outside Waitrose but I only had a fiver and it would have looked weird to ask for change?

At least I don’t now have to contemplate the dilemma described by one of my Facebook friends:  “When is the politically correct time to return to a regular (rainbow-free) profile pic?”

PS: And yes, this is my first blog post in two months. What of it? I’ve been busy, doing stuff like this rundown of the best new restaurants in Bangkok. So there.

5 comments:

Ms Scarlet said...

Quitting Facebook solves all these angst-ridden dilemmas.
Sx

Vicus Scurra said...

Now you tell me! I have been trying to adjust my screen to get the colour balance correct. Did you know that when you remove all of those pixels it is a bugger to get them back in the right order?

Brian Busby said...

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for ten years. I was all for it. Did we overlay stripes then? I don't know - I wasn't on Facebook then - but somehow I doubt it. I joined in 2011. Same-sex marriage was made legal in Denmark the next year, but I didn't see people striping themselves. After that we saw same-sex marriage become legal in France, Uruguay, Brazil, New Zealand and Luxembourg. No overlays for any of them.

Ireland's referendum? Still nothing.

Good on the United States, but I'm no Yank; there'll be no overlay for me. Truth be told, the legalization of same-sex marriage south of the border will put a dent in our tourist trade. There'll be far fewer Americans coming to Canada to get married. Wish there'd been more.

Tim Footman said...

I know, Scarlet. I keep meaning to. One more cup of coffee...

I've always assumed you've got a greyscale monitor, Vicus.

But everyone knows Canadians are sensible, Brian. The SCOTUS decision was worth it just for the look on Scalia's fat arse face.

Richard said...

Thanks for taking some of the heat. I didn't share something and a tiny baby died of cancer. Until now I thought it was all my fault.